A study by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) shows that in 2012 70% of companies offered employees paid volunteering opportunities, up from 53% in 2007.
This drive towards greater corporate philanthropy is something that Mustard Tree has benefitted from. Sometimes this leads to more than we or the volunteer in question initially intended. For example, Geoff McGuire, who voluntarily runs our 10-week Electronic Music Production Course, became involved with our James Hardy Music Project after he attended a Make a Difference Day organised by his employers Barclays Bank.
Though he was originally involved in repairing part of our building, Geoff got chatting about music to Graham Hudson, our Creative Programmes Manager, and from there he ended up teaching the course and having the opportunity to be a positive influence on our clients.
We already have numerous volunteers who help the charity by offering services such as counselling or teaching back to work skills. We also hold group volunteering days, where 10-20 people spend a full day helping us keep on top of things by refurbishing, cleaning, sorting out stock, and other day-to-day activities. What the collaborative efforts of these groups can achieve is amazing. To think that spaces like our community garden, could not have been built without the tireless effort of numerous volunteers!
But there is always room for more corporate volunteers, with experience in various disciplines over a range of sectors. Not only might they have practical skills that they can pass on to our clients, they could potentially inspire our clients to consider careers they had never even considered. It’s not only about directly helping the clients, but also helping Mustard Tree and our staff so that we can improve the way the charity runs.
Though there are numerous potential benefits for Mustard Tree, the individuals and businesses involved will certainly gain too. Consumers and shareholders are more likely to trust businesses that incorporate good values, and volunteering is an opportunity, especially for local businesses, to build lasting, meaningful relationships with the community. And it differs significantly from a financial donation in that you can see the impact your philanthropy has had, and how it can change lives.